Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace

Date:
October 17, 2013
Source:
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Summary:
In a new review of how psychology research has illuminated the causes of war and violence, three political psychologists say this understanding can and should be used to promote peace and overturn the belief that violent conflict is inevitable.

In a new review of how psychology research has illuminated the causes of war and violence, three political psychologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst say this understanding can and should be used to promote peace and overturn the belief that violent conflict is inevitable.

Writing in the current special "peace psychology" issue of American Psychologist, lead author Bernhard Leidner, Linda Tropp and Brian Lickel of UMass Amherst's Psychology of Peace and Violence program say that if social psychology research focuses only on how to soften the negative consequences of war and violence, "it would fall far short of its potential and value for society."

"In summarizing psychological perspectives on the conditions and motivations that underlie violent conflict," says Tropp, "we find that psychology's contributions can extend beyond understanding the origins and nature of violence to promote nonviolence and peace." She adds, "We oppose the view that war is inevitable and argue that understanding the psychological roots of conflict can increase the likelihood of avoiding violence as a way to resolve conflicts with others."

Political leaders can be crucial in showing people different paths and alternatives to violent confrontation, the researchers point out. Leidner mentions Nelson Mandela, a leader who "offered South Africans an example of how to deal with the legacy of apartheid without resorting to further violence by making statements such as, 'If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.'"

Leidner and colleagues recall how political and social psychology researchers have in recent decades steadily gained more understanding, through research, of such psychological factors as intergroup threat, uncertainty, group identity, emotions, moral beliefs and how intergroup conflict affects views of the world and of oneself.

They review theory and research that specify psychological factors that contribute to and perpetuate intergroup violence through emotional responses and belief systems fostered by conflict. Finally, they summarize ideas of how psychological "defenses of peace" -- a phrase in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) preamble -- can be constructed in the human mind.

The authors acknowledge that conflict and violence between groups persist because they often give people ways to address psychological needs, for identity, safety, security and power. Nonviolence has received far less media and research attention, they point out, but this should change. The UMass Amherst team urges social psychologists to consider factors that increase empathy and understanding of others, along with factors that increase the capacity for critical evaluation of the "ingroup."

They conclude, "Research that investigates how to mitigate negative consequences of war and violence is valuable," and the studies they summarize, grounded in "realistic insights," support the view that psychology can be applied to promote peace. "It is our contention that psychology can and should be applied to promote peace, not war."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bernhard Leidner, Linda R. Tropp, Brian Lickel. Bringing science to bear—on peace, not war: Elaborating on psychology’s potential to promote peace.. American Psychologist, 2013; 68 (7): 514 DOI: 10.1037/a0032846

Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135216.htm>.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. (2013, October 17). War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135216.htm
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "War is not inevitable; psychology research should promote peace." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135216.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins